Ben Pattison and Calli Thackery have their eye on prizes at the final British Milers’ Club Grand Prix of the summer in Loughborough on Saturday
The season may be drawing to a close but the climax of the Saucony British Milers’ Club Points Series competition will ensure some sharp and exciting racing at Loughborough on Saturday (Aug 27).
The cash prize pot of £3400 for the most consistent performers over the summer’s BMC Grand Prix has attracted some top entries for the fifth and final event in the series – which contenders must run to be eligible for the money.
Bearing that in mind it is intriguing to see Commonwealth 800m bronze medallist and European Championships sixth-placed 800m runner Ben Pattison switching his attention to the 1500m.
Pattison currently leads the men’s competition for the £1500 top prize on 70 points, including that superb BMC record of 1:44.60 to win the last Grand Prix event at Trafford.
“I think a half decent run by Ben should secure him top place as unfortunately Phil Norman and Ian Crowe-Wright (currently second and third on 52 and 51 points respectively) have both picked up injuries so won’t be racing,” said BMC Grand Prix director Tim Brennan.
“Will Battershill is currently fourth and will run the 5000m and there will clearly be opportunities for those just inside the top 10 to leap into the prize positions.”
In the women’s competition Calli Thackery also has a strong grip on top spot with 70 points, 11 clear of Ellie Baker, who appears to have been ruled out with injury.
Thackery was a BMC Grand Prix winner over 5000m at Watford and Trafford and more recently finished sixth at the Europeans in Munich and 10th at the Commonwealth Games while Baker was eighth in the 1500m at Munich and reached the semi-finals of the 800m at the World Championships. She also has two Grand Prix victories at Sportcity and Watford.
“Calli will run the 5000m at Loughborough but Ellie is not entered yet but that may change,” added Brennan. “Otherwise, it is very open. Runners like Hannah Nuttall and Isobel Ives are all in with a chance of making the top three in the points competition.”
With Pattison in the field the men’s 1500m is already shaping up to be one of the top events of the evening but the 20-year-old Basingstoke & Mid Hants runner won’t start favourite. That tag will surely go to New Zealand international Sam Tanner, whose PB of 3:31.36 came when he was sixth at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
He has expressed a target of 3:35.00 on Saturday, which would eclipse the recent BMC record of 3:36.25 set by Elliot Giles at a BMC Gold Standard meeting in Watford at the start of the month.
Also going for 3:35 is America Josh Thompson, who has a PB of 3:35.01.
Apart from Pattison there is strong group of talented young British runners in the field. BMC U20 record holder Kane Elliott – the 20-year-old ran that 3:40.65 mark last year – and has subsequently improved that to 3:39.13 this summer.
Ethan Hussey, 19, comes into the race with his confidence high after winning bronze in the 800m at the World Under-20 Championships in Colombia after placing sixth in the 1500m final with a PB of 3:39.60.
Fastest Brit on paper in the field is James Young (3:37.72), who finished sixth and second at the Watford and Trafford Grand Prix events respectively and was seventh in the UK Championships.
The women’s 1500m field also boasts a quality overseas entry with Natoya Goule in the line up. The Jamaican finished fifth over two laps at the World Championships then fourth at the Commonwealth Games and subsequently improved her PB with 1:56.98 in Monaco.
Goule boasts a PB of 4:08.66 for the 1500m and with Nuttall having clocked a lifetime best of 4:08.15 to win the Trafford GP that looks like being a terrific contest.
Scotland international Eloise Walker, who finished 20th in the 5000m at the Commonwealths, is also entered for the 1500m and looking to improve her PB of 4:09.97.
Abigail Ives will also be racing for the first time since placing sixth in the 800m at the World Under-20 Championships and on paper is the fastest Brit in the field for the two-lap race with her PB of 2:01.88 set at the Birmingham Diamond League in May.
Ives, along with sister Isobel, are looking for sub-2:02 and can expect stiff competition from the Ireland pair of Claire Mooney (2:01.66) and Iseult O’Donnell (2:02.29).
In his last BMC race Thomas Keen ran a PB of 3:37.70 at the Gold Standard meeting behind Giles’ record run so the 21-year-old will be feeling confident of attacking his PB of 1:46.18 in the men’s 800m A race. That time puts him 11th in the 2022 UK rankings while just behind him in 13th is the recently turned 20-year-old David Locke, who ran a PB of 1:46.47 for fifth at Trafford. Ben Murphy (1:47.17) and Alex Botterill (1:46.52) are also entered as is American Christian Harrison, who boasts a PB of 1:46.69.
Thackery is easily the top entry for the women’s 5000m so she has been offered the opportunity to run with the men.
Battershill takes a break from the steeplechase and has plenty of incentive to do well in the 5000m in the pursuit of points to finishing among the series prizes. He has a PB of 14:12.18 dating back to 2019 so is clearly worth a lot faster than that and with a decent field including Ahmed Abdulle (13:59.51), Hugo Milner (13:44.46), Jacob Cann (13:58.66) and Lewis Jagger (14:04.93), Battershill should dip well inside 14 minutes.
There is also a mile race in honour of legendary coach George Gandy comprising mostly past and present Loughborough University students.
The meeting starts at 5pm and spectator tickets will be available on the gate for just £6.
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